WINDHOEK: The Namibian Association of Medical Aid Funds (NAMAF) urged all medical practitioners or dentists to obtain an ‘individualised’ practice number to facilitate the payment of claims for legally-dispensed medicines.
The Namibia Medicines’ Regulatory Council (NMRC) on 31 July 2012 issued a notice “that all medical aid funds are compelled by law to cease to reimburse medicines dispensed by a healthcare professional who does not have a dispensing licence in terms of Section 31 (1) (2) (3) of the Medicines and Related Substances’ Control Act, 2003 (Act No 13 of 2003) as from 17 September 2012”.
However, NAMAF said the notice needs to be clarified and definite guidelines need to be set up.
In a public notice issued on Tuesday, they said “NAMAF is doing everything in its power to engage with the NMRC to obtain clarity and definite guidelines in this regard”.
In terms of the Medicines and Related Substances’ Control Act, 2003 (Act No 13 of 2003), a “medical practitioner, dentist or veterinarian may sell emergency medicine in the course of lawfully carrying on his or her professional activities to, or for, a patient under his or her care, or treatment”.
The same Act further defines emergency medicine as “medicine needed for immediate relief of symptom or needed for procedures in a practice, but does not include medicine for a patient to take away”.
However, a directive by the Medical Association of Namibia (MAN) on 18 September this year indicated that no injections and immunisations will be paid by medical aid funds with immediate effect, because these are not considered as emergency medication.
In accordance with the relevant law, dispensing in relation to medicine means to prepare, count out (or measure or decant from a bulk supply), mix, dissolve or dispense and dispose of medicines.
‘Emergency medicine’ in law is defined as medicine needed for immediate relief of a symptom, or needed for procedures in practice, but does not include medicine for a patient to take away.
Earlier media reports indicated that the Namibia Private Practitioners’ Forum (NPPF) said it was obtaining each medical aid fund’s policy in this regard, and insisted to have the stance of the medical aid funds in writing as proof when patients suffer health risks, or even death, as a result of the actions of the Namibia Medical Research Council (NMRC).
The NPPF argues that no license should thus be required for the dispensing of emergency medicines.
THE decision by all medical funds not to pay for injections and immunisations administered in doctors’ consulting rooms have angered medical professionals, who say this will push up the prices of medical costs and make medical care less accessible.